Monday Mornings with Madison

The iGen and the Alpha Generations

Word Count:  1,309 

Estimated Read Time:  5  min.

The first rule of sales is “Know Thy Audience.”  Anyone who deals with sales and marketing probably knows at least a little about the various generations living today.   For business purposes, there are currently six generations or audiences today.   The frugal Silent Generation, born from 1929 to 1945 and now in their 70s and 80s, grew up during the Great Depression and World War II.   The free-spirited Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964), who grew up during the Civil Rights movement and the Cold War, are now beginning to retire and are redefining what that means.  The GenXers or Boomlets (born 1965 to 1981) were the latch key kids who grew up during the race to Space and the Vietnam War.  Theirs was the first generation to transition from an analog to a digital world.  Generation Y — the now much discussed Millennials (born between 1982 and 1999) — were the first generation to grow up as technology natives and watched terrorism become a global threat.   As the currently biggest generation living (80 million in the U.S. alone), they only want to do meaningful work, aren’t interested in office politics, the status quo or paying their dues.  But there are two more generations emerging.  Meet the iGens and the Alphas. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Many Facets of Leadership – Part 3

Word Count:  1468 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Mistaking Confidence for Competence

Hiring managers often claim to prefer employees with the right character traits and organizational fit over those with the right education, training, skills and experience.  They want people with a positive attitude, drive and passion.  But what they are really looking for are people who exude confidence.  Finding a highly confident employee is viewed like striking gold!  Why?  Confident people are seen as being self-assured, reliable, assertive, positive, dependable and steady.  Confident people also tend to be charismatic, extroverted, and have strong social skills.  In most cultures, these are highly desirable qualities.  Also, in practically every culture — but especially in the technologically-advanced, developed world – confidence is equated with competence.  We automatically assume that confident people are able, skilled and talented. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Many Facets of Leadership

Word Count:  1034 

Estimated Read Time:  4  min.

Part 2 – Managing

Imagine that a company or business is like a boat and the boat has a destination… the port of profitability and growth.  On the left side of the boat are the Marketing oars.  On the right side of the boat are its Sales oars.  If only the left oars are rowing, the boat will go around in circles, clockwise.  And if only the right oars are rowing, the boat will go in counter-clockwise circles.  Even if both sets of oars are rowing, but not in tandem, the boat will not move in the intended direction very swiftly.  But if both sets of oars row in tandem, the boat will move forward.  If guided by someone who knows the destination, it will move toward that spot.  And the faster and more efficiently they row in tandem, the more swiftly it will get to its destination.  The process of getting all the oars to row in tandem, efficiently and effectively, to a particular designation is management.  Getting there faster than the competition is good management.  And leadership is the wind in the sails of the vessel, which can help propel it even farther and faster.  If the leadership is strong and steady, the work of the sales and marketing teams is made easier, and everything glides forward quickly. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Many Facets of Leadership

Word Count:  1,502 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Part 1 – Coaching

Much has been studied, researched, written and taught about leadership.  There are even entire doctoral programs in leadership at prestigious universities.  That’s because, arguably, good leadership allows companies to succeed when they might have otherwise failed.  And great leadership pushes companies to rise above an ocean of mediocre ones.  That is why the most successful investors — think George Soros and Warren Buffet, who achieved annual excess returns 15% over the S&P for over 30+ years — spend an inordinate amount of time every day studying not only a company’s financials but also the skills and track records of the leadership at those companies.  Companies with the most innovative products can still fail to thrive without well-developed leadership.  To state the obvious, leadership really matters. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Effect of Abundance and Scarcity on what Customers Value

Word Count:  1,420 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller once marveled at the notion that “two gases [hydrogen and oxygen] — neither of which can quench thirst – can be united into a clear and sparkling liquid which pours down one’s throat in a life-giving stream.”  He added that “No liquid in the world can take the place of water for relief of thirst. This fluid is the most potent of all elixirs, although its availability and its inexpensiveness cause it to be overlooked. It is the universal solvent and the vehicle of digestion and of blood circulation.  If water could be obtained only from the pharmacist, it would be the most costly of liquors, both for its vital properties and for its enjoyment.”  And yet, most likely very few in the U.S. open a faucet and marvel as water pours out… precisely because it is so abundant and available.

Yet, in places like Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and even places in the U.S. such as Flint, Michigan and drought-affected parts of California, water is very scarce and the cost (and value) of water has skyrocketed.  In such places, people have a genuine and profound appreciation for clean drinking water.   That’s because the value of everything is deeply affected by abundance or scarcity, whether the item is essential for life or not.  In the U.S., the abundance of water has caused the value of “this most potent of all elixirs” to be mostly taken for granted.  On the other hand, other commodities that are not essential to life – such as diamonds, gold, rhodium, platinum, plutonium, taaffeite, tritium, painite, californium – are highly valued because of their scarcity, even if they have no life-giving properties.  This value is subjective.   This is known as commodity theory, and it is something that every entrepreneur, business leader, and sales professional should understand thoroughly.  This is where the laws of economics and the actions of sales and marketing professionals meet. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Art of Negotiating Business Deals

Word Count:  1,565 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

One of the most challenging parts of working with a new client is finalizing the business agreement.  This is the process in which the parties hammer out the details of the contract.  The bigger the deal, the more complex the agreement.  And negotiating the final terms of a complex deal can have its challenges.  In those situations, a sales professional might find himself in a position where the customer holds all the cards.  The salesperson may have invested a lot of time and effort in developing the opportunity.  He may have even promised his boss that a commitment was imminent.  The salesperson may feel boxed in and the customer may think he can dictate the terms.  That’s a losing proposition for the salesperson and his company, even if they land the deal.  Business deals that start out very lopsided – a win-lose proposition – don’t bode well for a good long-term business relationship. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Using Chess Strategy in Business, Part 2

Word Count:  2,292

Estimated Read Time:  9  min.

There are many benefits that come from playing chess.  Psychologists often cite chess as an effective activity to help improve memory function.  That is probably why chess is recommended in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  Playing chess can also help the mind solve complex problems and work through ideas.  It is also thought to increase one’s intelligence, although that’s not been scientifically proven.  And the effects of chess on children – which has been correlated to children getting better grades in school — has led to chess being introduced in schools in a multitude of countries.  That said, many are still intimidated by chess because it is perceived as a game for geniuses.  But while chess is a thinking-man’s game — one that requires a great deal of strategic thought and tactical reflection — it is not just for geniuses and savants.  Anyone can learn to play chess and improve through study and practice. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Using Chess Strategy in Business, Part 1

Word Count:  1,804 

Estimated Read Time:  7  min.

Chess is one of the fairest games there is.  In chess, opponents start with an identical force.   The entire playing field of a chess game is out in the open.  A player can see every move an opponent makes as soon as he makes it.  And, in chess, no dice are used so it is never a game of “chance” and there is no luck of the draw.  Moreover, there is no referee involved in chess that might “throw” a game or be partial to one side over the other. Continue reading

Leave a comment

How to Spot and Hire A Players for Key Positions

Word Count:  1857

Estimated Read Time:  7 ½ min.

When organizations hire employees for key positions, they want superstars.  They want rainmakers and movers-and-shakers.  Basically, they want A Players.  They certainly don’t set out to hire 10 % A Players, 80% B Players and 10% C Players.  But that’s what most companies have.  Still, it is fair to say that no recruiter ever hired someone knowing he would be a C Player, nor could he have known with certainty who was an A Player and who was a B Player.   If only 10% of the employees at most companies are A Players, then clearly HR departments are hiring lots of B and C Players.   That implies that it must be hard (or should we say nearly impossible) to distinguish between A, B and C Players. Continue reading

Leave a comment

A-Players vs. B-Players: Understanding the Value of Each Type of Employee

Word Count:  1546
Estimated Read Time:  6 min.

Employees are the most valuable resource of any company.  From Apple to DeBeers to Walmart, employees are the ones who lead, manage, create, innovate, implement, interact and engage with others on behalf of the company.  Only in the smallest companies do the owners perform the majority of the work.  In most other companies, employees do most of the work that generates profit.  For that reason, recruiting and hiring individuals with the skills and qualities to fit specific openings is the hardest thing any company does… even in the most successful organizations.  And it doesn’t matter if the position is an entry-level receptionist, a seasoned salesperson, a highly-technical professional position, or C-Suite executive.  Each opening has an ideal set of skills and qualities that would be the best fit for that job at that company.   But the more remarkable the skills and qualities needed in an employee, the harder it is to find the right person to fill that job. Continue reading

Leave a comment
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux